Monday, May 14, 2007

Kudos for Dodd

Whenever a Democratic candidate breaks free from the leave-it-to-the-market theology that has afflicted public policy in this country since the Daze of Reagan, he (there is no chance it will be a she!) deserves credit. Therefore credit must go to Chris Dodd for proposing – horror of horrors! – an outright tax on carbon emissions along with a number of other laudable (though “moderate”) proposals for combating global warming. Among the latter, let us praise him for his proposal to spend $50 billion annually for research on renewable energy sources, and for proposing to raise automobile CAFE standards to 50 miles per gallon within the next ten years. Meanwhile, the so-called top-tier candidates -- including the best of them, John Edwards – still wallow in the “carbon trading” miasma of the free marketeers. If they get their way, be sure that corporate polluters will find ways to do whatever they want. Only in the dream world of free market ideologues are markets not infinitely manipulable, especially in a “global” economy where monopolization is the rule and inequality reigns. Straightforward taxation may seem old-fashioned. It is certainly not enough to address the catastrophes ahead. But it is a step in the right direction or, at least, a step back from the wrong direction. That such a proposal can now emanate from within the Party of Pusillanimity is a hopeful sign.

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